Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Crossing Over Again

With all the data in hand, it's finally time to enact the last step of the plan. The ship jumps forward, this time only about a couple hundred years - the trip isn't nearly as rough. They arrive 10 months from their intended date (May of the year 2022), which actually works in their favor. Heading deep into the outer edge of the solar system gives them plenty of time to practice for their next assault, and repair and restock, as well as upgrade their capabilities. Nix grabs a head-full of tech to help him pilot, shoot, and fight; Rodney grabs some cybernetic upgrades as well, slowly turning himself into a literal tank.

The Biothanata is obviously taking hold - while there are a few hotspots on the surfaces of the three planets, it's not fully dug in, but the tell-tale signs of red blobs floating through space shows that the planets don't have more than a few years left before being eaten by the red goo.

Meanwhile, on the planet closest to the sun, power readings are off the charts; the frequencies are similar to the portal used to journey here, but far, far less stable. Atmospheric storms crash and roar, a perpetual storm centers on the power source - an enormous entity, holding a massive obelisk. The device is sapping energy from the planet itself, slowing it down to build enough charge to permanently open the portal. Blips in power occur every few hours as more entities portal their way to the planet, preparing for invasion.

The plan in its entirety is thus: after arriving in this galaxy through the heavily modified portal, the Dark Horizon was to spread the Biothanata (to ensure no future attempts - check), steal the portal technology (check), determine the exact date, time, and location of the invasion (check), and locate any existing strongholds in the Milky Way. Eliza's knowledge of history helped pinpoint the day and time of the invasion, and the records recovered help pinpoint the exact time and date on this side. With the information in hand, the Dark Horizon will have to make a leap into Jumpspace through the portal - only this time, the safety measures are missing. The ship will have to dodge ships in the area, fly down into the atmosphere, and after making some on-the-fly jumpspace calculations, jump through the portal.

Or, in a much safer way, send down a tiny mission to slip through the portal unseen, set up a portal linked to another back on the ship, and simply walk everyone out to the planet on the other side, after stripping the jump drives, Crowbar, NOA, and other technology from the ship. Safer, but the end result is no ship and no way to get home.

After putting it to a vote, it was decided that the Dark Horizon would make the jump. Either everyone makes it out, or no one does!

Finally, the day of the big event arrived. The Dark Horizon dodged the ships protecting the planet from above, and used their shield to phase through the planetary defense system. In the atmosphere, Nix dodged and weaved with incredible skill, thanks in part to his new upgrades. As they grew closer, a scene unfolded on the planet below:

A handful of humans suddenly arrived on the surface below; armed with little more than baseball bats, wrenches, rifles, and a spear, the men (and one woman) charged the entities and their armies, carving a path through the chaos, and eventually reaching the huge entity with the obelisk! A signal blinked on; unknown, but apparently friendly? It came from the rag-tag group, though how was anyone's guess. The woman stabbed the creature in the leg, and the guy with dual baseball bats took a swing, hammering it in. The fellow with a wrench grabbed a terrified flying entity, and once he was high enough, dived onto the massive creature with the obelisk, slamming it in the head! Together, they bashed the creature enough to weaken it, and it dropped the obelisk.

Nix quickly rand the Jumpspace calculations, and made the jump, just as the obelisk shattered into fragments on the stony ground. The last they saw of the group was them running back the way they came, with the hordes in hot pursuit.

And with that, the Dark Horizon leaped through the portal.

The journey was faster than the previous one; the larger portal and the much improved power source shortened the distance considerably. However, it wasn't a carefully tuned journey, and as the Dark Horizon popped back into reality, a cascade of failures took out the jump drives and brought half the system offline.

Out of sensor range of Earth, the crew took stock - a few minor injuries, and enough damage to the ship to keep Elise busy for a day or two, but overall, nothing but the Jumpdrive was damaged beyond repair. The year was verified to be 2022, early May. According to Eliza's instructions, if anything went wrong, they were to contact an Agent Peregrine Cycle, who could be found on the eastern edge of where Texas City will eventually be - a tiny village named Longview.

Rodney, dressed in "casual" clothing, and Nix, wearing a hologram, headed down to the surface. Somehow, Rodney managed to not only ask the right people, but managed to do so without alerting them to the fact that he is somewhat unhinged. In record time, they found Agent Cycle, a rather stiff individual who was nonetheless all too happy to help. Oddly, he didn't seem to be at all put off by the fact that they had arrived on a space ship, though he did apologize for being rushed, as he was in the middle of dealing with a successfully rebuffed alien invasion, which thankfully went a lot better than he had hoped.

After a few day of seeing the sights (and watching Mr. Clean commercials), the crew was met by one Captain Caelie Kay, the time-traveling captain of the Tempus Fugit, offering parts and assistance. Her engineer, a woman named Daisy, seems very keen on meeting the crew, and fixing their ship!

No comments:

Post a Comment